Section 14 (AT in a Day)

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US 250/I-64 in Waynesboro, VA to Rt.43/Pkwy Dr. in Buchanan, VA - 112.1 miles

Section Chief: Ryan Nightingale '13

US 250/I-64 to Dripping Rock Parking Area/Blue Ridge Parkway mile 9.6 - 14.3 miles

Hikers: Ron Harris, Nora Johnson '08, Emily Copeland, and Joseph Scott

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I met Bob Ashton '73 and his wife Tina at the Dripping Rock parking area on the Blue Ridge Parkway just south of Rockfish Gap, VA.  After Tina took our picture Bob gave me a ride up to the Humpback Gap Overlook, where he left his car and I set off to connect with the AT just the other side of Humpback Rocks.

After a week of perfect fall weather, Saturday morning was a little rainy, but the clouds were high enough and the rain light enough that I didn't get too wet and still had pretty nice views at various overlooks along the trail.  The trail between Humpack Rocks and Dripping Rock mostly follows the ridge, and pops out of the woods at a number of places sometimes looking toward Charlottesville to the east, sometimes the Shenandoah Valley to the west.  At one point it goes along a rock ledge with a great view of Wintergreen (if you like looking at massive hillside condos across the valley).  Had the weather been perfectly clear I might have been able to see all the way east to my house in Palmyra (on a clear day I can see Wintergreen from my patio), but the clouds were in the way.

I encountered a few day hikers along the way, mostly heading up to Humpback Rocks, and Joe Scott '00, his wife and son just before I reached my destination at Dripping Rock.

25 years ago I participated in the 75th anniversary Peak Bag, and, while terribly out of shape, I am really happy to have been able to cover a small section of the AT for the 100th.  I hope that there will be some way I can join the 125th!

Congratulations to the students and other volunteers who organized this historic event.

Ron Harris '71

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Joseph Scott '00, Emily Copeland '99, Owen Scott 3yo, Miriam Scott 13mo and Penelope, 49 dog years old hiked the section of the Appalachian Trail from the Dripping Springs Parking Area at mile 9.6 of the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Humpback Rocks Picnic Area at mile 8.5. About two miles of the AT.

Within this section: US 250/I-64 to Dripping Rock Parking Area/Blue Ridge Parkway mile 9.6

The weather was comfortably cool and a little rainy, making rocks and leaves slippery, but everyone arrived without injury at the picnic area. Scenic view from a rock outcropping was too risky for the under 5 and four-legged set, so part of the group detoured around. Hike took approximately two hours.

Joseph was a leader for two trips with the DOC, and enjoyed many retreats at DOC cabins. DOC was a wonderful part of his Dartmouth experience. Emily had a more casual relationship with the DOC, but enjoyed pancake paddles at Ledyard especially when living in the River.

We enjoyed participating in this event, and hope for its success, and perhaps an encore when our little ones are bigger.

Emily Copeland '99 and Joseph Scott '00

Dripping Rock Parking Area/Blue Ridge Parkway mile 9.6 to Tye River/Va.56 - 15.3 miles

Hiker: Robert Conley

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Tye River/Va.56 to Fish Hatchery Rd. - 9.4 miles

Hiker: Richard Olin

Fish Hatchery Rd. to Salt Log Gap/USFS 62 - 7.8 miles

Hiker: Richard Olin

Salt Log Gap/USFS 63 south to USFS 39 Little Irish Creek Pedlar River Bridge - 15.3 miles

Hiker: Frisbee Tyler

Pedlar River Bridge south to US 501/Va.130 - 15 miles

Hiker: Rick Sample

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AT in a Day Organizers,   My wife (Celia Rafalko) and I successfully completed our Virginia segment on Saturday from Blue Ridge Parkway mile 51.7 to U.S. 510/VA 130 (10.9 miles.)  It turned out to be a beautiful day with wonderful views all around, especially from atop Bluff Mountain (elevation 3,370').  Please see the picture attached.   The idea was terrific and honored the long tradition of the DOC.  It reminded me of hiking in the Presidential Range during my Dartmouth time and in later years.   Given the challenge of covering all of the segments in western VA, NC and TN, I'd recommend that the next time we do this, we work with a partner from the region.  This should be a college with an active outdoor orientation and students/alumni/ae who will share the excitement of the concept and adventure.  We'd have to do some research, but maybe a school like Washington & Lee or Appalachian State.  When's our next AT in a day?!   All the best,   Rick Sample '74

US 501/Va.130 to Petites Gap/Blue Ridge Parkway mile 71.0 - 9.9 miles

Hiker: Mark Lattanzi

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Here's our race report:

We hiked from Petite's Gap to VA 501.  We met Deb Darling (another participant) at Petite's Gap on 9:15AM on Saturday morning.  It was a bit overcast and spitting rain, but it turned out to be a gorgeous day.  We drove her up over Apple Orchard Mtn to the start of her section and dropped her off.  Then we returned to Petite's Gap to hike our section.  We consisted of myself (Mark Lattanzi from Blacksburg, VA), my dog Quincy- a Bernese Mountain Dog, and Gretchen Weinnig (from Roanoke, VA).

We were on the trail by 10AM.  It was about a 10 mile hike on the AT and we took a slight detour off the trail to the Devil's Marbleyard.  It's a rocky hillside of white medium-sized boulders.  We picked a flat one and had a grand lunch before we finished up the hike.  It got a bit humid as the day wore on and Quincy was pretty knackered and dragging by 2:30PM.  Luckily, we had less than an hour of hiking left or we're not sure she would have made it.

We had a great day.  The leaves were just starting to turn colors.  The weather held out for us.  And we met a few southbound through hikers and a half dozen day hikers along the way.  It was a great feeling to be hiking and yet to be a part of something bigger.  Kudos to the DOC for orgainzing the event.

Mark, Gretchen, and Quincy

Petites Gap/Blue Ridge Parkway mile 71.0 to Blue Ridge Parkway mile 78.4 - 7.3 miles

Hiker: Debra Darling

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I (Deb Darling) hiked the Petites Gap/Blue Ridge Parkway mile 71.0 to Blue Ridge Parkway mile 78.4      section in Central Virginia.  Photos attached.   I was invited to hike by Bill Gruver '66 who introduced me to my husband, Paul Darling, also D '66.  My husband Paul, who loves to hike in the mountains, currently is sick in Switzerland and unable to hike so I walked for him.  As you will see by the attached photos, I am not an experienced hiker so it was definitely a labor of love.  On the moments during the hike when I questioned whether or not this was a good idea, I thought of him and my middle brother who would do anything right now to be able to walk on their own speed.   It was not a good day for photos (rainy and foggy for much of the hike), but it was a great day for reflection.  As I rested on the rocks and trees along the trail, I kept hearing the hymn "How Great Thou Art."  I fully appreciated being alone with nature and being reminded how beautiful our planet is.  I also enjoyed being part of history as Dartmouth attempted the first every ATinaDay experience.  The camaraderie among those planning and those hiking was infectious and I loved being a part of it.   Thank you for this great experience and for putting me in touch with the Appalachian Trail.  Like the Ken Burns' series on National Parks, I hope this effort sparks more attention, love, and support for the AT.  I plan on joining my uncle who belongs to the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail.  He maintains two segments in Central Virginia and he's in his 70s!   One of the fun moments was meeting two through hikers who were really pumped up about the Dartmouth ATinaDay effort.  I overpacked for the day and shared with them the chocolate bars I had packed which they called "heaven" as I gave it to them.  It's been a while since I've seen smiles that big for such a small thing.   I also want to thank Mark and Gretchen for helping me with transportation.  They took me to the beginning of my segment so that I could walk back to my car parked at the end of the segment.  I could not have done this without them.  

Blue Ridge Parkway mile 78.4 to Va.614 - 11.4

Hiker: Ralph Webb

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Va.614 to Va.43/Bearwallow Gap - 6.4 miles

Mountain bikers